17 October 2015

Averaigne campaign - session 00

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I've allowed myself to be talked into running an introductory mini-campaign of "proper old roleplaying with loads of different dice" for five 6th formers and on Friday afternoon we had our first session, chucking their characters (which they'd rolled up 3d6 in order under my supervision on Wednesday at the end of the school day) in at the deep end.

It was the first time I'd done any roleplaying since I was about ten, when I'd run the introductory adventure (B11 The King's Feast) with Red Box Basic D&D back in the late 80s. I was worried I'd be a bit rusty and the whole thing could fall flat - blind leading the blind! But I relied upon my trusty parent/teacher/DM skills of "if you sound convincing, no-one will ask awkward questions" and all the mistakes I'm sure I made became unimportant.

This is the Session 00 post, though, in which I introduce the characters and the world in which my campaign will run....

The relatively young kingdom of Averaigne, ruled over in a relatively just fashion from its capital Chambresse, will be the setting. Think modestly fantastical 13th Century English-owned regions of France with a hearty seasoning of Arthurian myth, a dash of Tolkien, and the merest soupcon of David Eddings' Elenium trilogy, and you won't be far from the mark. My old jottings will give you a flavour of overheard conversations from this world.

On to the dramatis personae. Here are the five characters along with the quick background I provided each of them to get us underway - they'd not done any roleplaying before so I took the liberty of giving them a starting point. They got into it really quickly and I got all proud-parent by the end of the session; we actually played for a little over an hour and resolved a single encounter. But back to the characters, complete with the thumbnail sketches done by our cleric player:

Bregans, cleric of Alathea
(STR7, INT9, WIS13, DEX13, CON10, CHA11, 24 years old)

You are an inexperienced cleric, only a year into your novitiate in the Temple of Alathea (goddess of justice and social harmony), and accompanying Revered Elder Berignon to the daughter temple in Corcelle is your first mission – his is the true work, yours is a humble worker to enable his mission to be successful. You know that you must protect him with your own life, if necessary, while remaining true to the precepts of your order: uphold justice and reduce conflict – using force only as a last result. You value the outward trappings of your role as symbols of your commitment to Alathea:
  •         A white arming cloak emblazoned with the golden rising sun of Alathea
  •         A silver rising sun on a leather-thong around your neck
  •         Your mail shirt and heavy iron-headed mace.

Bernard, magic user
(STR11, INT16, WIS8, DEX12, CON10, CHA10, 19 years old)

"Why yes, that is a dragon embroidered on my robes!"
Corcelle! City of the Temple of Alathea, true, but more importantly the last known place that Anselme the Mage was spotted. A legendary wizard and, more importantly, trainer of wizards – if you could find him and persuade him to take you on as his apprentice… 

Staedtler, fighter
(STR12, INT10, WIS11, DEX16, CON15, CHA9, 18 years old)

"Are you looking at my facial birthmark? I'll punch you!"
Bored with life on the farm, herding cows and scrabbling about in the mud to grow crops with your extended family you’d taken to heading over to the big inn (The Hanged Man) on the King’s road of a weekend to drink and fight and hear tales of adventure from across Averaigne and beyond. When that wagon had overturned, breaking the legs and arms of the carters, you’d leapt at the chance to leave your drudgery behind and see the world. You’d handed over most of the money you had with you to buy the livery coat and travelling kit of one of the carters and taken his place; your cousin Pierre had done likewise with the other carter. You’re off to see the world! 

Pierre, fighter
(STR12, INT13, WIS11, DEX13, CON13, CHA9, 20 years old)
"Will there be wine?"
Spend the rest of your life with cows and corn? Not a chance! You know you’re tough and determined and could make something of yourself, get yourself noticed, travel the world, amass a fortune! You feel a bit bad about those two carters with their busted arms, but you hadn’t put that pot-hole there. Mind, you hadn’t warned them either… Whatever. Now you and your cousin are on your way, second hand kit, perhaps, but deliver this cargo to Corcelle and you’ll get your first proper pay. It’s a start, but one day they’ll be singing songs about you.

Jean le Mysterieux, halfling thief
(STR11, INT14, WIS10, DEX14, CON11, CHA14, 25 years old)
This made me laugh so hard
Fed up with having to explain that you’re not related to the halfling that busted into the Duke d’Ambresson’s strong-room and made off with his wife’s emeralds (and his daughter’s virtue – those noblegirls love finding out if the rumours about halflings are true!), it was time to move on. Corcelle is a young town, no established thieves guild, perfect for a young Halfling with a damn fine set of lockpicks and a winning smile.

Let's see what happens to this bunch of wet-behind-the-ears, proto-adventurers, eh?

Join me next time,


  1. Wonderful scenario and characters, Rab. I've no background on RPG - well as a kid I used to play out the Trojan War with my cousins - using armor made from cardboard, etc. Otherwise, who knows with my current 1:1 armor escapades :) Best, Dean

    1. Thanks, Dean :) We were mostly an Arthurian/Tolkien house when it came to dressing up and hitting each other with toy swords. I have enjoyed some medieval re-enactment so I see no reason why you shouldn't get a kick out of playing in your new (and lovely) armour...

  2. Replies
    1. The halfling being too short to fit in the picture frame? Yes, that really tickled me.

  3. And that is one great start to a RPG, will you be using figures for this game?

    1. Thank you! I don't plan to use figures, although I have plenty that would be suitable. Aside from trying out a different style of gaming (all my existing games are miniatures based), the logistics of taking figures and/or terrain into school, storing them, and setting up/taking down in what is already a time-pressured slot... nah, I think it would be more hassle than it's worth.

  4. This is a great start, I love the student's pictures of the characters (the halfling made me snort coffee through my nose) and your background paragraphs are brilliant. Great job.

    1. Thanks, Matt, that picture reassured me that the group would work - as do your kind words. They mean a lot coming from such an experienced DM and prolific creator of campaign cartography :)

  5. Glad to see another returning DM using Swords & Wizardy. Looking forward to more.